The First African American March was 103 years ago…#201

After the Civil War, there was a system called Black codes, they limited the freedom of the African Americans.   Though the Union freed some 4 million slaves, the question of freed blacks’ status was still unresolved. In 1865, Lincoln proposed limiting the right to vote for African Americans that shocked many; however, his assassination days later changed the course of history.  His successor Andrew Johnson would be the one to preside over the beginning of Reconstruction.  Johnson’s Reconstruction policies were that the Confederate states were required to uphold the abolition of slavery.

The states and their ruling class that traditionally dominated were white planters and they were given a relatively free hand in rebuilding their own governments.  Former slaves fought to assert their independence and gain economic self-sufficiency during the earliest years of Reconstruction.  White landowners acted to control the labor force through a system similar to the one that had existed during slavery. They were still burdened by the color of their skin.

Mississippi and South Carolina enacted the first Black codes. Mississippi’s law required blacks to have written evidence of employment for the coming year each January; if they left before the end of the contract, they would be forced to forfeit earlier wages and were subject to arrest. In South Carolina, a law prohibited blacks from holding any occupation other than farmer or servant unless they paid an annual tax of $10 to $100.

Under Johnson’s Reconstruction, nearly all the southern states would enact their own Black. While the codes granted certain freedoms to African Americans including the right to buy and own property, marry, make contracts their primary purpose was to restrict African American labor and activity.  Anyone who broke labor contracts were subject to arrest, beating and forced labor. 

After passing the Civil Rights Act (over Johnson’s veto), Republicans in Congress effectively took control of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 required southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment which granted “equal protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enact universal male voting before they could rejoin the Union.  Still limits, males only could vote!  

After the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, white supremacy was largely restored across the South in the 1870s, and the segregationist policies known as “Jim Crow” soon became the law of the land. In 1877, when the last federal soldiers left the South and Reconstruction ended, African Americans had seen little improvement in their economic and social status.     Discrimination would continue in America with the rise of Jim Crow laws, but would inspire the Civil Rights Movement to come.

The Great Migration was the relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the South to the cities of the North, Midwest and West in 1916.  Driven from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, many African Americans headed north, where they took advantage of the need for industrial workers that arose during the First World War. During the Great Migration, African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting racial prejudice as well as economic, political and social challenges to create a Black urban culture.

The Ku Klux Klan had been officially dissolved in 1869, however, the KKK continued underground after that, and intimidation, and violence even lynching of black southerners were not uncommon practices in the Jim Crow South.  With war production kicking into high gear, recruiters persuade African Americans to come north, to the dismay of white Southerners.

On Saturday, July 28, 1917, a group of between 8,000 and 10,000 African American men, women and children began marching through the streets of Manhattan in what became one of the first civil rights protests in American history 103 years ago. 

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal provided more federal support to African Americans than at any time since Reconstruction. Even so, New Deal legislation and policies continued to allow considerable discrimination. During the mid-thirties, the NAACP launched a legal campaign against inequalities in public education. By 1936, the majority of black voters had abandoned their historic allegiance to the Republican Party and joined with labor unions, farmers, progressives, and ethnic minorities in assuring President Roosevelt’s landslide re-election. The election played a significant role in shifting the balance of power in the Democratic Party from its Southern block of white conservatives towards this new coalition.

In addition, the fight continues today…


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Hate Crime

Chuck is an educator, Young Adult Novelist, and passionate about helping people with depression and anxiety by sharing his own insights and experiences.

Mayhem in Madison, Wisconsin…#200

Madison, Wisconsin is only a couple miles away, I live in a small town adjacent to Madison.  Protesting continues in Madison.  The Beltline on the southwestern edge of the city has protesters almost daily.  The latest being a trucker, local not a big rig, was stopped on the Beltline by protesters.  They went up to his side window telling him they would let him though if he said what they wanted him to say.  It was never know what!  When he tried to move slowly forward, a protestor fell to the ground screaming that he had hit her with the truck.  When police and EMT have arrived, they could not get to the protestor because the crowd would not let them through. 

When they did manage to get to her, she was transferred to the hospital with “no injuries”.  These things are not just in someone else’s backyard, they are covering America like a Locust plague, locust moves from one area t the next destroying all vegetation in their path.  I am beginning to think that the peaceful protest are now gone and have been replace by some small out of control movement that is crossing America one block, one road, one business at a time.

Tuesday night, a man was protesting inside a restaurant downtown Madison with a megaphone and a baseball bat.  The male protester was using his megaphone to disrupt the peace; the baseball bat on his shoulders was a threat as he yelled at customers and restaurant staff at point-blank range.  His arrest looked eerily similar to George Floyd, but this time police were handling him with kid gloves, patient and mindful of what could happen.  I believe these protesters are deliberately testing law enforcement, waiting for them to make a mistake.

The man struggled with police and was not cooperating, he did yell I cannot breathe and no one was anywhere near putting this man in such a position.  He apparently was using the George Floyd words to call attention to himself.  Bystanders demanded officers release him claiming he had done nothing wrong, he was only exercising his First Amendment rights.  Bystanders with cameras did not give up, yelling let him go free.  He was officially detained for disorderly conduct while armed (with baseball bat), resisting arrest, and attempting to escape.

Two of the officers suffered minor injuries during the arrest.  The question…was there a more peaceful way to handle the situation.  The customers did feel threatened.    

Later in the evening, protesters marched from the county jail downtown to the state capitol, blocking traffic and promising that it would not be a peaceful protest.  They tore down one statue called “Forward” the state motto and another of Col. Hans Christian Heg, an abolitionist who died fighting of the Union in the Civil War; they dragged them into Lake Monona. 

Later, fury exploded outside the Wisconsin State Capitol as protesters smashed windows at the statehouse, attacked a senator, then tearing down the statues.  State Senator Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee took a picture of the protestors.

Protesters, chanting for the release of the man who had been arrested earlier, also broke glass at the Tommy Thompson Center on West Washington Avenue, and set a small fire at the Dane County jail before police arrived just before 1 a.m.

Assembly Speaker robin Vos, R-Rochester tweeted of being sad at the “cowardice” of Madison officials to deal with the thugs.  Well, the public and our Nation as a whole have tied the hands of Law Enforcement.  They are “fearful” of what may happen to them if they show any force.  Listen people, you either want law enforcement that protects and handles “thugs”, or you want “thugs” to be set free or not touched at all no matter what they do, burn, loot, beat up people.

After 1 a.m., a line of about 20 police officers stood in riot gear as a crowd of about 100 remained, breaking into occasional chants; police played a recording stating the gathering was unlawful and telling people to leave.

I have not been out in six months due to health problems, not Covid-19, I do not know if I am lucky or not.  However, all of this is what is happening in my neck of the woods along with a few of my own opinions tossed in.


Poor Southern Whites, Pre and Post Civil War…#199

In the years before the Civil War, white society in the South was divided between the wealthy, and the poor white farmers.  This poor population had little more than the land that they work. They are largely the lost people of the South in American history.  This was my history, my ancestors!

The wealthy lived in a world of opulent mansions and mint juleps. Most white southerners were not wealthy enough to own slaves. They raised their own food and made their own clothes, often eating less and working harder than slaves. Poor white farmers scratched out a living in the less fertile backcountry and mountain valleys.

The history of the American South cannot escape the specter of slavery, white supremacy, and severe class divisions.  Poor and working-class whites have usually been left out of our country’s story because in many ways acknowledging their existence is a denial of the American dream, a festering wound in the heart of America.

I am from the Deep South. I was brought up in a split non-racist / racist family. I was taught history written by superior white people.   I lived in poverty as a child and teenager; the South was a very complex place.  I was an adult before my parents were able to reach the status of middle-class.  I was drawn to history, American History that includes the South, I read, I learned and in my split upbringing I made my own decisions and theory of what was right and wrong.

All lives matter.


Defacing America…#198

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt is to be removed from in front of the American Museum of Natural History.  The statue shows Roosevelt on a horse, with a Native American man and an African man on his sides.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “That while Roosevelt was a “complex” figure, there’s an important distinction between the statue and the man – and the statue itself is especially problematic, in this case.  The statue clearly presents a white man as superior to people of color, and that’s just not acceptable in this day and age, and never should’ve been acceptable,” de Blasio said.

Well no Mayor…the man and the statue cannot be separated as you say, they represent the same.  Just because he is on a horse with the Indian and Black man at his sides does not mean the statue represent racism.  This is the perception of someone who alone believes it is so and gathers people together to protest.

Protestors are “on a roll” and God help anyone or anything get in their path that they dislike.  America is now talking about changing everything from street names, parks, you name it; an instant dislike it’s gone.

Maybe we should start a protest against fat and remove all fast food places, change restaurant menus, candy and soft drink companies.  Let us shut down everything regarding to “fat”.  Now, you will say that is ridiculous, it is, but there is a lot America needs to change.  Fat kills!

Mayor De Blasio’s hands are not clean.  He and his wife as co-mayor, wasted $1.8 Billion of the taxpayer’s money.  De Blasio and ‘co-mayor’ wife Charlene McCray have wasted $1.8B of taxpayer money, he was not removed.  Chirlane McCray, who has just been revealed as a world-class boondoggler in her own right.  Both have been involved in activity or projects that are unnecessary and wasteful of time or money, and undertaken for personal or political gain.  De Blasio has a history of campaign finance scandals; he is no stranger to fundraising scandals. Therefore, a protest should be started to remove him from office that would save taxpayer money.  However, that involves voting!

Prejudiced and ignorance appears to be unchecked by local authorities. Several of the defaced monuments are of abolitionists, including the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln.  America’s education institutions do not merely keep kids ignorant, but actively teach them to hate their country for its past.

Federal Law Prohibiting Removal or Defacing of all Historical Statues has gone to the wayside.  I am ashamed of what is happening in our country and how people are so blinded by the attempts to split our Nation in half.  This movement of hate is like a cancer growing in our country, it is destructive and history is being destroyed by those truly ignorant to the facts and encouraged by public figures and media.

Slavery in any form is deplorable and is truly the most disgusting thing I can think of.  However, thousands of people are under the cloud of slavery today, in the Middle East and Africa.  In addition, every race in the world has been in chains of slavery at one time or the other.  If we know our history, see the results of history and are taught factual history the good and the bad, then we have less chance of repeating it.

If this destruction of historical monuments continues to be allowed how long until other things like, our historical literature is burned in town squares. None of us is responsible for what our ancestors did or did not do period! I stand firm in the belief that anyone that destroys any type of monument of our history should face legal charges. What’s next, National Park, Battle Ship, Mount Rushmore?

And, if you destroy, the symbols that mark our history people will forget and can easily repeat the mistakes of the past. 


The year was 1939…#197

Father’s Day 1939, Sunday, June 18Father’s Day (United States) Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. The tradition was said to be started from a memorial service held for a large group of men who died in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in 1907.

Happy Father’s Day (Daddy) in Heaven, Roy C. Johnson 10/19/1903 – 1/27/1977

I have looked up a few 1939 items the year I was born to share:

Happy Father’s Day Poems 1939

Calls for reparations are growing louder…#196

When the Civil War ended in 1865, the Union General William Sherman confiscated land from Southern States and mandated it be re-distributed in 40-acre plots to the freed slaves.  Thus, the term “40 acres and a mule” came to be and that mandate was never filled.   Since the freed slaves refused to join work gangs to help restore the South, most landowners divided their fields into plots and rented them out to blacks and whites alike. In exchange for use of the land, the tenant would turn a portion of their harvest over to the landowner.

The debate has raged for almost 200 years that America owes the descendants of slave’s reparation money because their ancestors were slaves.  The argument is that African-American’s built America.  This is questionable; all of American citizen’s ancestors help build America.

Ever since a Union Army general announced in Galveston, Tex., that “all slaves are free” on June 19, 1865 — a day now commemorated as Juneteenth — the question of how to compensate the country’s formerly enslaved people has hung over the United States.

Are we opening up Pandora’s Box?   A  Congressional subcommittee held a hearing on the legislation, which would develop a commission to study the long-lasting effects of slavery across generations and consider a “national apology” for the harm it has caused.

Once reparation becomes Law, will it go far beyond slavery?  With the definition of reparation being “For wrong doing”, and with all the MEGA “wrong doing” by the US government, Federal, State and Local, many will want to jump on this Bandwagon.



I need a new subject…#195

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It’s June, we are half way through the year and I am ready to broach a new subject, clear the mind of all the rubbish that is attacking our senses.  With that being said, did you make a New Year’s resolution, or several?  I made nothing beyond trying to stay healthy.    We all know that a New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the New Year.  Some promise themselves to change a bad habit, change their life, their relationships; these promises can take many forms. 

I have found that many of the top promises people make are, spend more time with family and friends, tame that bulge, quit smoking, quit drinking, get out of debt and enjoy life more.  Helping others also would top my list, if I stay healthy.  A few list for some is getting organized, I am a minimalist and have been all of my life, so I have only the bare necessities and I have only what I need.

I retired almost twenty years ago, my only promise to myself was to write, to be published and start a blog.  I have accomplished all three in a small way.  This year I have made a promise to meditate more, read more. I also promised myself to continue with my painting, as a hobby more or less, not to sale, although I have been tempted to have a showing or a booth in one of the many art fairs that we have in the area.  I have also thought of taking my art to Door County, many artist put their work in various shops in the spring and go pick it up in the fall, just an idea. 

I have not acted on that one yet, or the showing or art fairs.  I suspect that I am not confident enough in my work to show.  I try to improve daily, as I write most daylight hours and when tired move over to my current art project. 

I have given thought to the beginning of every year, it did not just start as we know it today, with the making of promises, toasting with your favorite drink and kissing the one you love. 

Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. Supposedly, medieval knights had their own version of the New Year’s resolution. One by one, during the last feast of the Christmas week, they would place their hands on a live or roasted peacock and recommit themselves, for the next 12 months, to the ideals of chivalry.  I have heard that some wish the “Peacock Vow” would return, I for one laughed at that notion.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks a period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days”.

The concept, regardless of beliefs, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.

One tradition that I use to love when going out or having parties on New Year’s Eve was the singing of Auld Lang Syne.  Robert Burns, a Scot born in 1759, wrote the song.  He died of an early age, about thirty-seven-years-old. Although his life was short, he secured himself a place in history and in legend.

Robert Burns
The hand written poem that was to become the song.

There is another poem, that fits into our world today, and was written by Robert Burns in 1792.

The Slaves’ Lament

By Robert Burns

It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthrall,

For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;

And alas! I am weary, weary O.

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,

Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,

In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;

And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,

And alas! I am weary, weary O:

My interpretation of the poem is that Burns saw Virginia as a beautiful country, a romantic realm of the South.  Yet there he made both friends and foes.  The Plantation owner’s cruelness he feared, while thinking of his friends it was done so with bitterness and tears.  One my look upon this poem as they wish, however, it uses sensitivity when written, slightly letting the truth show through, but gave him great sadness.

Is this what we are doing today, looking on through the cruelness of the times with squinted eyes?  Does it bring pain to our hearts, but do we let others see our weariness and tears?  I think not.


My Heart Beats For You

Another personal life lesson from C.R. Murphree, Educator, Published Young Adult Author, Mental Health Activist, Black Student Union Organizer, and my Son.

Offensive is out of control…#194

It would appear that our society is submitting to a spirit of offense with increasing regularity.  Many harbor bitterness and resentment, it manifest into hate, anger, intolerance, violence and yes, fear.  With all of these in place, it distorts views on truth, some become ignorant.  Ignorance produces more of the same!  Offensiveness exists but it is not necessary to pick it up and run with it.  Hate exists but we do not have to act upon it.  We do not have to assume a victim mentality, if we know the truth.  When we know the truths damaging side effects cannot touch us.  We then become part of the solution and not the problem.

Americans find many, almost everything offensive, and here are only a few researched, and the most offensive are not at the top of the list.

  1. Offering an 18-Year-Old a Drink
  2. Leaving Kids in Strollers Outside Stores
  3. Talk in the Imperative Form
  4. Saying Certain Words
  5. Not Leaving a Tip
  6. Letting your child play nude in fountains, pools.
  7. Not smiling at people
  8. Discussing salary
  9. Eating certain foods
  10. Commenting on weight
  11. Hiring someone based on looks.
  12. Standing too close to another person
  13. Topless women
  14. Staying at a restaurant visiting after finishing a meal
  15. Letting a birthday person pay for on food
  16. Waving at a waitress or waiter
  17. Slurping food
  18. Sitting through the National Anthem
  19. Putting money on counter when paying
  20. Kissing on the cheek
  21. Speaking another language in front of others
  22. Clothes-less people on TV
  23. Cursing on TV
  24. Using Metric
  25. Sitting in front of a cab
  26. Offensive nicknames
  27. Smooching in public
  28. Red light districts
  29. Staring
  30. Sharing cultural things
  31. Public baby feeding
  32. Not glorifying the military
  33. Having more than one wife
  34. Disrespecting the National flay, wearing it on clothing for example
  35. Friendly banter
  36. Not replying back
  37. No swearing, vulgar language
  38. Discuss your sex life
  39. Laughing at accents
  40. It’s offensive to make racial slurs
  41. It’s offensive to make  sexist comments
  42. Why don’t you have kids
  43. Gay relationships, which of you are the man/woman
  44. Will you tell your child he/she is adopted
  45. Death – they are in a better place
  46. I will pray for you
  47. Are you pregnant (overweight people you just met)
  48. Your just a housewife
  49. I’m not racist, but
  50. Calling someone retarded